Same Day Surgery can be an anxious time for you and your child. At Meadows Surgery Center our anesthesiologists are all Board Certified and are experts in providing high quality, safe anesthesia care for pediatric patients. In addition to assuring the optimal safety for your child during surgery, our anesthesiologists are specially trained in techniques that help to make the operative procedures as comfortable as possible for you and your child.
What Will the Anesthesiologist Need to Know?
The anesthesiologist will want to make sure your child is in the best possible physical condition before surgery. You will be asked important questions about your child’s general health, including whether he/she has allergies or asthma, whether there has been any family history of difficulties with anesthesia and what your child’s experiences have been with previous anesthetics. During this evaluation, the anesthesiologist will explain the planned anesthetic procedures. The discussion may include whether or not your child will receive anything for sedation before surgery, how the anesthetic will be initiated and maintained, and other pertinent anesthetic details. This is the best time for you and your child to ask questions and express any concerns to the anesthesiologist.
Sometimes minor illnesses such as sniffles and colds may cause problems during some types of surgery and anesthesia. For this reason, the anesthesiologist may feel it is best to postpone surgery. Remember, even though this can be an inconvenience, the anesthesiologist has your child’s safety in mind.
How Can I as a Parent Help?
The anesthesiologist and the surgeon will do their best to make your child’s visit to the surgery center as pleasant as possible; however, you also have a key role to play in your child’s care. It is important that you are preparing your child for the operation as soon as a decision is made to perform surgery. Children tolerate surgery and anesthesia better when they are well-prepared. As with all of us, children have natural fears of the unknown. Anything you can do to relieve these anxieties and to inform your child about the coming events in the surgery center and the operating room will greatly improve your child’s experience.
Once you learn what will happen, you will gain confidence and be better able to talk calmly and honestly to your child. Honestly is the key word. Your child should be told that he or she will be in unfamiliar surroundings but will meet many friendly doctors and nurses. Children need to know that they will have an operation and that there may be some discomfort afterward. Let them know that you may not be with them every minute but will be waiting nearby.
Your composure as a parent is essential. Nothing calms a child more than a confident parent. Although it is natural for parents to have anxiety when their children are having surgery, it is best not to convey this to your child.
When it is time for your child to be taken into the surgery, you will be invited to accompany your child into the operating room and stay with him/her until the child is asleep. The presence of a calm, assured and confident parent can help most children through the stress of a procedure, usually without the need for sedation. Only one parent or caregiver is allowed in the operating room to avoid crowding and contamination of sterile equipment.
How Long Will My Child Be Asleep After Surgery?
Different children may awaken from anesthesia at differing rates. Some children may be fully alert upon arriving in the recovery room. Others may be groggy for a while. Shortly after your child arrives in the recovery room, you will be permitted to stay with him/her until the child is ready to be discharged from the Center.
You’ve Taken the First Step. Keep Going.
Surgery is never an easy process for a family, especially when the patient is a child. Reading this information is a good first step in getting prepared. Continue to do what you can to inform yourself and work with the child’s surgical team to get the child ready for what will hopefully be a successful outcome.
Pediatric Anesthesiology – Helpful Information for Parents and Children
Fast Facts about Parental Presence at Induction of Anesthesia
- We at Meadows Surgery Center work hard to reduce the anxiety level of children who are having surgery. It is also important to us to reduce the anxiety level of the child’s parents/guardians.
- You will be allowed to stay with your child (6 months to 12 years) at the start of anesthesia provided that you follow the instructions of the medical staff at all times.
- Only one parent will be allowed into the operating room. Others will remain in the pre-op area.
- The final decision about whether a parent may accompany a child into the operating room will be made by your child’s anesthesiologist.
- Parent who accompanies the child into the operating room CANNOT BE PREGNANT.
- Once your child has been registered for the procedure, a nurse will meet with you and your child, to take your child’s vital signs, weight and medical history. As the parent or legal guardian, you will be asked to sign a consent form before anesthesia is given.
- Your child’s anesthesiologist will decide which type of anesthesia is right for your child, depending on your child’s age, medical history, and type of surgery being done. Anesthesia can be given through a mask or directly into a vein through an intravenous (IV) line
- Before entering the operating room, parent accompany the child will be asked to put on a disposable jumpsuit, hair cover and shoe cover. This one-size-fits-all jumpsuit often called a “bunny suit” – will fit over your street clothes and will be taken off and thrown away after you leave the operating room.
- You may stay with your child until he or she is asleep. You will be taken to the waiting area before the procedure begins.
What to Expect During Induction
- Anesthesia can be given either through an intravenous (IV) line directly into a vein or in a gas form by breathing through a mask.
Anesthesia Medication Through IV
- Older children who are not afraid of needles may choose to have IV anesthesia. The IV form of anesthesia requires a needle to be inserted into the child’s vein, usually in the hand or arm. When anesthesia is given through an IV catheter (or tube), the child falls asleep in seconds.
Questions to Ask:
- What can my child eat?
- How do I take care of the incision? Surgical site?
- What medications will my child be taking? Dosages?
- What should I do for my child’s pain?
- When can my child take a shower/bath?How much activity is my child allowed to participate in?
- When can my child return to school?
- When should I call for a follow-up appointment?
A Parents Guide to Same Day Surgery
Each child responds to a new experience in their own unique way. Most children will have some worries about their surgical procedure. It may be difficult and confusing as a parent to answer some questions. Here is some information that my help when talking to your child about his/her surgery and answering their questions.
Infants and Toddlers
Infants and toddlers may be the most difficult age group to prepare for a procedure due to their limited level of understanding and communicating. Children at this age fear separation from Mom and Dad. It may help your child if you bring a favorite blanket, pacifier, or stuffed animal to the Center on the day of surgery. Your child will need to know that Mom and Dad are nearby. Our clinical staff knows how important this is to you and your child. We will make every possible effort to limit the amount of time apart.
Ages 2-6: Children ages 2-6 should be given truthful statements; where they are going, why, and how long they will be there. Inform your child in simple words what can be expected to occur on the day of surgery. (Ex: Reading books together may help encourage questions.) Encourage your child to ask questions about the procedure and their worries.
Ages 7-12: Children ages 7-12 are at a very curious stage of development. They will naturally ask a lot of questions and you should encourage them to do so. An honest explanation of what to expect after surgery is important. Books can be very helpful at this age. Encourage your child to write down questions and concerns which can be answered on the day of surgery by the doctor or nurse.
Teenagers: Teenagers may not express feelings openly, they may internalize them. They worry about their appearance, missing school, activities, and sports. Talk to them about not being afraid to ask questions. Tell them no question is stupid and any staff member at the surgery center would be glad to answer their questions. Be sure to include your teen in discussions and assure them all personal information will be kept private. The clinical staff at Meadows Surgery Center is always available to answer any questions you or your teen may have.
Our goal is to make your child’s surgery a positive experience. You can contact us at (201) 574-0566.